Open Access

Greening Nyanga: Developing a Community Park in a Complex Urban Environment in Cape Town, South Africa


Green, recreational spaces are lacking in most low-income urban areas of Cape Town, South Africa. Public open spaces that do exist are often considered nuisance plots, as they attract anti-social behaviour. Thus, there is a dire need to create green, recreational spaces in such areas to provide the benefits of parks to the community members who live there. Nuisance plots are unsafe and should be developed into safe, convivial, and beautiful spaces for local communities to utilise. Using the development of a community park in the Cape Town township of Nyanga as a case study, this paper demonstrates the communality and contestations involved in the planning and implementation of green infrastructure in an urban landscape marred by socioeconomic inequalities. Sourcing data from nine months of ethnographic fieldwork, this paper aims to i) show the importance of inclusive planning and decision-making through participation of all stakeholders in urban design and spatial planning projects; ii) to highlight the complexities and social contestations of such projects, and the need to consider the social relations of an area during the planning and implementation phases; and iii) to emphasise the importance of incorporating sense of place and belonging in design and planning decisions.

Publication timeframe:
2 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Industrial Chemistry, Green and Sustainable Technology